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A concretizar-se a aprovação final das autoridades de saúde norte-americanas, este será o primeiro animal transgénico a chegar legalmente às mesas dos EUA.


O salmão transgénico atinge o tamanho adulto duas vezes mais depressa do que o não transgénico (à frente) AQUABOUNTY

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a agência federal norte-americana responsável pela aprovação de novos alimentos e medicamentos, emitiu um parecer onde conclui que o consumo de um tipo de salmão geneticamente manipulado, produzido pela empresa AquaBounty Technologies, não apresenta “riscos nem perigos significativos para a segurança alimentar”.

A FDA considerou ainda que, dadas as características destes salmões e a forma como são criados (são fêmeas estéreis e crescem em condições de estrito isolamento), mesmo que alguns exemplares conseguissem escapar dos tanques isso não afectaria o ambiente.

O salmão transgénico em questão, criado em 1989 e baptizado AquAdvantage, é um salmão do Atlântico ao qual foi acrescentado o gene da hormona de crescimento do salmão-rei (Oncorhynchus tshawytsch), uma espécie muito comum do Pacífico. Esta manipulação genética faz com que cresça duas vezes mais depressa do que os seus congéneres naturais.

Segundo a imprensa internacional, o parecer da FDA já estava pronto em Abril, mas a sua publicação fora adiada pela Casa Branca, que receava eventuais reacções negativas dos seus eleitores (recorde-se que as presidenciais estavam mesmo à porta…).

À vitória eleitoral veio juntar-se a publicação, na segunda quinzena de Dezembro, de vários artigos no site slate.com que não deixaram outra alternativa ao Executivo norte-americano senão tornar público o parecer da FDA. Naqueles artigos, Jon Entine, director do Projecto de Literacia Genética (associação sem fins lucrativos dedicada a “separar a ideologia da ciência” e a desmistificar os mitos em torno da engenharia genética), denunciava o atraso na divulgação do documento e salientava que isso “levantava questões legais e éticas de interferência política na ciência e no trabalho independente das agências federais”. Dois dias mais tarde, o parecer da FDA era tornado público online, enquanto se aguardava pela sua versão impressa.

Contudo, lê-se na revista New Scientist, a aprovação final não será imediata. O parecer deve agora ser submetido a discussão pública e a FDA precisará de realizar, a seguir, uma derradeira avaliação, que pode ainda ser demorada – mas que, em princípio, não deverá apresentar surpresas.

O salmão transgénico também há-de chegar às mesas europeias? Segundo o diário britânico The Independent, quando o AquAdvantage passar a ser “legalmente comercializado e consumido nos EUA, os produtores de salmão britânicos e europeus vão sentir-se pressionados a seguir o exemplo”.

Autor: Ana Gerschenfeld
Fonte: Ecosfera – Público
Original: http://goo.gl/88HpH


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(Reuters) – A top Mexican government official said Thursday that the long-awaited but highly controversial approval of genetically modified (GM) corn fields on a commercial scale will drag into next year.

Mariano Ruiz, a deputy agriculture secretary, said in an interview that the regulatory approval process won’t be finalized under the outgoing government of President Felipe Calderon, but instead will fall to his successor to see through sometime next spring.

President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party is set to take office on December 1.

Ruiz said he does not expect permits to be approved for four to five months but that the new government led by Pena Nieto is likeminded in its support for the introduction of large-scale GMO corn cultivation in Mexico.

“I think we are in agreement generally over the importance of having this instrument, and that farmers have the tool of genetically modified organisms,” said Ruiz.

“But like they say, the devil is in the details,” he added.

Scientists recognize Mexico as the birthplace of corn, and opponents of GM corn have argued that genetically modified varieties pioneered by companies like Monsanto will contaminate native strains and irrevocably harm the grain’s biodiversity.

Ruiz said the government still had to designate so-called “centers of origin” where GM corn cultivation will be banned as well as set other safety regulations.

Mexico, Latin America’s second-biggest economy, plants 7.2 million hectares (17.8 million acres) of corn annually to grow mostly white corn which is used for human consumption, including the country’s staple tortillas.

Domestic corn production this year will total nearly 22 million tonnes, according to agriculture ministry data.

But the country relies on imports of yellow corn for animal feed, including about 9 million tonnes in 2012.

Backers of GM corn say it produces yields between 10 and 15 percent larger than conventional strains, which could boost production and curb Mexico’s dependence on imports.

The delay will leave five applications for commercial-scale GM corn fields totaling about 2.5 million hectares in limbo.

Agribusiness giant Monsanto has submitted two applications, both of which seek 700,000 hectares for GM corn in Mexico’s western Sinaloa state, the country’s largest corn producer.

The Mexican subsidiary of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, part of DuPont, has three applications each of which would cover about 350,000 hectares in northeastern Tamaulipas state.

Meanwhile, Dow Agrosciences de Mexico, part of Dow Chemical, has one application for 40,000 hectares also in Tamaulipas state.

(Editing by Ed Davies)

Author: David Alire Garcia and Adriana Barrera
Source: Reuters
Original: http://goo.gl/0CrGL


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Alteration of crops is widespread, producing plants with higher yields, less need for pesticides and other desirable qualities. And, many scientists say, such crops are as safe as any other.


California’s Proposition 37 would require labeling on genetically modified foods. (Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty Images / October 19, 2012)

To the naked eye, the white puffs of cotton growing on shrubs, the yellow flowers on canola plants and the towering tassels on cornstalks look just like those on any other plants. But inside their cells, where their DNA contains instructions for how these crops should grow, there are a few genes that were put there not by Mother Nature but by scientists in a lab.

Some of the genes are from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis that makes proteins lethal to flies, moths and other insects. Others are from the soil bacterium Agrobacterium that programs plants to make a key enzyme that isn’t vulnerable to a popular weed killer. These modifications allow farmers to grow crops with easier weed control and fewer pest-killing chemicals.

To an increasingly vocal group of consumers, this genetic tinkering is a major source of anxiety. They worry that eating engineered foods could be bad for their health or cause unanticipated environmental problems. At the very least, they insist, they deserve the right to know whether the foods they might buy contain genetically modified ingredients.

In California, this unease has culminated in Proposition 37. If approved on Nov. 6, the initiative would require many grocery store items containing genetically modified ingredients to carry labels.

But among scientists, there is widespread agreement that such crops aren’t dangerous. The plants, they say, are as safe as those generated for centuries by conventional breeding and, in the 20th century, by irradiating plant material, exposing it to chemical mutagens or fusing cells together to produce plants with higher grain yields, resistance to frost and other desirable properties. Now they want to insert other genes into plants to make them more nutritious, resistant to drought or able to capture nitrogen from the air so they require less fertilizer, among other useful traits.

“There’s no mystery here,” said UCLA plant geneticist Bob Goldberg. “When you put a gene into a plant … it behaves exactly like any other gene.”

Genetically engineered crops have been extensively studied. Hundreds of papers in academic journals have scrutinized data on the health and environmental impacts of the plants. So have several in-depth analyses by independent panels convened by the National Academy of Sciences.

The reports have broadly concluded that genetically modified plants are not only safe but in many respects friendlier to the environment than nonengineered crops grown via conventional farming methods.

For instance, a review this year of 24 long-term or multigenerational studies found that genetically modified corn, soy, potato, rice and wheat had no ill effects on the rats, cows, mice, quails, chickens, pigs and sheep that ate them. Growth, development, blood, tissue structure, urine chemistry and organ and body weights were normal, according to the report in Food and Chemical Toxicology.

About 90% of the corn, soy and cotton now grown in the U.S. is genetically modified, and that has led to less use of pesticides, more targeted insect control, a shift to fewer toxic chemicals and less soil erosion compared with conventional farms, according to a 250-page analysis from the National Academies in 2010.

“There were hundreds and hundreds of peer-reviewed articles we combed through,” said environmental economist David Ervin of Portland State University, who chaired the panel.

Though genetically modified crops are widespread, the alterations are quite limited.

The most common one makes crop plants tolerate the herbicide Roundup, allowing them to thrive while weeds die. Roundup kills weeds by disabling an enzyme called EPSPS that plants need to make amino acids. But crops are vulnerable too. So scientists at Monsanto Co. developed seeds with a resistant version of the EPSPS gene from Agrobacterium, splicing it into soy, alfalfa, corn, cotton, canola and sugar beets. The resulting crops have built-in protection to the herbicide; hence the brand name Roundup Ready.

It was such an easy way to control weeds that farmers flocked to it, said weed scientist Mike Owen of Iowa State University in Ames: “The siren song of simplicity and convenience was incredibly powerful.”

Scientists used another strategy to make crops that can resist insect pests, such as the European corn borer and cotton bollworm.

For this job, the key genes are from Bacillus thuringiensis, known as Bt, which makes proteins that are toxic to insects but harmless to fish, birds, people and other vertebrates because they lack a receptor to which the proteins bind.

For decades, Bt proteins have been sprayed on organic crops to control insects. In the genetically modified version of the strategy, genes for Bt proteins are spliced into the plant’s DNA so that it makes the protein itself.

Adoption of these crops has led to several documented benefits. American farmers cut back on their use of traditional insecticides that kill a broader array of bugs — including helpful ones — between 1996 and 2008, the National Academies review found.

China’s broad adoption of Bt cotton led to a rise in numbers of beneficial ladybugs, lacewings and spiders and fewer aphids and other pests, according to an April study in the journal Nature. Benefits like these spill over to conventional crops as well, scientists have found.

In one famous case, genetic engineering saved a crop headed for extinction. Papaya plantations in Hawaii were under attack from the papaya ringspot virus; a new genetically altered papaya is resistant.

None of this means that modified crops are perfect. Problem weeds like waterhemp and Palmer pigweed are developing resistance to Roundup around the U.S., undercutting the usefulness of Roundup Ready crops.

That doesn’t surprise Owen, who saw the same thing happen with older herbicides for conventional crops. The reason was the same: overuse of one chemical. The solution, he said, is not to ditch engineered crops but to incorporate them with a variety of herbicides, cover crops, crop rotation and tilling of the soil.

He said he gets irked by talk of monster “superweeds” spawned by genetically modified crops: “It was the decision of how the genetic engineering was going to be used that created the problem.”

To discourage the evolution of pests that are resistant to Bt proteins, the Environmental Protection Agency requires farmers to plant a buffer zone of conventional crops near ones engineered for resistance. Farmers have been lax about this, undermining the technology’s usefulness, said Gregory Jaffe, director of the biotechnology project for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington.

“If it’s an environmentally beneficial pesticide, we want to protect it,” he said.

Indeed, reports of Bt-resistant pests are cropping up, just as occurred with traditional insecticides, said entomologist Yves Carriere of the University of Arizona in Tucson. To stave off the trend, companies are creating crops with multiple Bt genes, since it’s harder for insects to develop resistance to all of them at once.

Engineered crops can — and do — cross with conventional crops, creating occasional embarrassments for the plant biotech industry and headaches for organic farmers who want their products free of genetically modified ingredients. In Europe, rules state that products can be labeled alteration-free if they contain up to 0.9% genetically modified content. There is no such cutoff in the U.S., Carriere said.

Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for California’s Yes on 37 campaign, said she and others were not convinced by the safety data on genetically modified crops because, among other reasons, many of the studies were done by industry scientists and didn’t assess effects of eating such crops for a long enough period of time.

It’s also a matter of basic consumer rights, she added.

“When we’re the ones buying the food, we should get to know what we want to know about it,” she said.

As the wife of an organic farmer, Pamela Ronald is heartened that consumers are interested in food safety and sustainability. But as a UC Davis plant geneticist, she said the labels required by Proposition 37 wouldn’t tell people what they want to know.

“It has no meaning, whether it’s [genetically modified] or not,” she said.

Author: Rosie Mestel
Source: Los Angeles Times
Original: http://goo.gl/8GIWq


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An anti GM group in New Zealand wants the government to shut down research into an allergen free milk produced by a cloned cow.

In a world breakthrough, AgResearch (NZ) scientists have produced milk from ‘Daisy’ that’s free of the protein betalactoglobulin (BLG).

It’s estimated up to 3 per cent of humans are allergic to milk proteins and it’s hoped the BLG-free milk could be in the fridge within three to 10 years.

But lobby group GE Free New Zealand is horrified by the development.

President Claire Bleakely says the very premise of removing the BLG protein is wrong, and the milk could lead to further problems for those who drank it.

“Betalactoglobulin (BLG), what they’ve knocked out, is actually a very minor part of the milk, it’s actually part of whey and it’s essential for digestive health, immune system health, as well as the absorption of vitamins A, D and E,” she said.

“For people who can tolerate milk, BLG is an essential part for milk to be absorbed in its entirety.

“For the alleged 3.0 percent that can’t tolerate milk, it’s likely to be only 0.1 per cent of them who have the actual allergy to the betalactoglobulin.

“And one of the highest allergies is to casein, which is another milk protein, and they have doubled the casein in the milk.

“So they’ve reduced one protein but they’ve doubled another one, which actually has the highest allergenic potential in the people who are allergic to milk.”

Author: Jessica Strauss
Source: ABC Rural
Original: http://goo.gl/Tc7TP


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The vast majority of Americans want genetically modified food labelled. If California passes November’s ballot, they could get it


In the US, an estimated 70% of items on supermarket shelves contain GM ingredients, commonly corn, soy and canola oil products. Photograph: David Sillitoe/Guardian

Last month, nearly 1m signatures were delivered to county registrars throughout California calling for a referendum on the labeling of genetically engineered foods. If the measure, “The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”, which will be on the ballot in November, passes, California will become the first state in the nation to require that GM foods be labeled as such on the package.

This is not the first time that the issue has come up in California. Several labeling laws have been drafted there, but none has made it out of legislative committee. Lawmakers in states like Vermont and Connecticut have also proposed labeling legislation, which has gone nowhere in the face of stiff industry opposition. And the US Congress has likewise seen sporadic, unsuccessful attempts to mandate GM food labeling since 1999.

What makes the referendum in California different is that, for the first time, voters and not politicians will be the ones to decide. And this has the food industry worried. Understandably so, since only one in four Americans is convinced that GMOs are “basically safe”, according to a survey conducted by the Mellman Group, and a big majority wants food containing GMOs to be labeled.

This is one of the few issues in America today that enjoys broad bipartisan support: 89% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats want genetically altered foods to be labeled, as they already are in 40 nations in Europe, in Brazil, and even in China. In 2007, then candidate Obama latched onto this popular issue saying that he would push for labeling – a promise the president has yet to keep.

In Europe, only 5% of food sold contains GMOs, a figure that continues to shrink. In the US, by contrast, an estimated 70% of the products on supermarket shelves include at least traces of genetically engineered crops – mostly, corn and soy byproducts and canola oil, which are ingredients in many of America’s processed foods.

Given their unpopularity with consumers, labeling “Frankenfoods” would undoubtedly hurt sales, possibly even forcing supermarkets to take them off their shelves. In one survey, just over half of those polled said they would not buy food that they knew to be genetically modified.

This makes the financial stakes for November’s referendum vote huge. California is not just America’s leading agricultural state, but the most populous state in the nation. If companies are made to change their labels in California, they may well do so all over the country, rather than maintain a costly two-tier packaging and distribution system.

Several hurdles will have to be overcome, however, before this happens. The ballot initiative will face fierce opposition from the food and biotech industries, which are expected to spend an estimated $60-100m on an advertising blitz to convince Californians that labeling is unnecessary, will hurt farmers, increase their food prices, and even contribute to world hunger.

One lobbyist the corporations have hired to make this case is Tom Hiltachk, the head of the Coalition Against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition (CACFLP), whose members include the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow and Syngenta, as well as several big food processors and supermarket chains. Hiltachk is no stranger to the shadowy world of industry front groups, according to Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association. The food activist reported on Alternet that:

“With a little help from his friends at Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, he helped organize the Californians for Smokers’ Rights group to fight anti-smoking initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Also working to defeat the labeling initiative, according to Baden-Mayer, is the California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), which likewise receives big bucks from the tobacco industry and assorted other corporations. The consumer watchdog group Public Citizen says that CALA aims “to incite public scorn for the civil justice system, juries and judges, and to pave the way for enactment of laws immunizing corporations from liability for actions that harm consumers.”

Whether lobbying groups like these will be able to convince famously independent Californians to reject the labeling initiative in November remains to be seen. But even if the referendum passes, the food industry can be expected to challenge in court the state’s right to mandate its own labeling requirements – a function usually reserved for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at the federal level.

The FDA’s position on GMOs is that they are safe and essentially equivalent nutritionally to conventionally grown food varieties. But critics counter that the FDA has no way of knowing if this is true, since crucial testing of GM foods has never been required by the agency, and indeed, has not yet been conducted. Writes Dr Suzanne Wuerthele, a toxicologist with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

“We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.”

The concern is that genetic modification alters the proteins in foods in ways that researchers do not yet fully understand. Substances that have never existed before in nature are entering our food supply untested. While researchers have not yet found a “smoking gun”, which would prove that GM foods as a class are dangerous, there are troubling signs that they may be a factor in the recent epidemic of food allergies. Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, for example, soy allergies escalated by 50%.

Rosa Rashall, a nutritionist in Garberville, California, who took part in the petition campaign to get the labeling initiative on the ballot, told the Redwood Times:

“We are all worried for a variety of reasons, from health effects to skyrocketing food sensitivities that have started to come about in the last 20 years. There has been an incredible 400% increase in food sensitivities that coincides pretty well with the unlabeled introduction of GMO food into the marketplace.”

Critics also argue that agriculture’s increasing dependence on GMOs has coincided with a steep rise in toxic agrochemical use over the last decade. A variety of GM corn sold by Monsanto was developed specifically to withstand punishing doses of the company’s bestselling herbicide, Roundup.

Food scientists remain divided on the larger food safety issue. Some say that there is no cause for alarm, while others cite the allergy problem and also animal studies, like one published by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, which showed high levels of kidney and liver failures (the two organs of detoxification) in rats that were fed Monsanto GM corn. Monsanto’s biotech corn is designed to produce a pesticide in its cellular structure that wards off insect pests. Nobody knows what effect this toxin will have on the people who eat the flesh of livestock that are fed it.

The bottom line is that we can’t be sure what the physiological effects of consuming GM foods are until rigorous human trials are conducted – which is not likely to happen anytime soon.

Californians aren’t waiting until all of the scientific results are in. And what they decide at the polling station in November may change what the rest of us eat.

• Editor’s note: this article originally stated that California was the “third most populous state” in the US; in fact, it is the most populous (and third largest geographically); the article was amended at 12pm ET (5pm UK) on 13 June.

Author: Richard Schiffman
Source: The Guardian
Original: http://goo.gl/4oUv6


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Um novo milho desenvolvido pela DowAgroSciences pode fornecer a resposta às orações de agricultores norte-americanos para uma epidemia persistente de super ervas daninhas. Ou pode desencadear uma enxurrada de químicos perigosos que tornará as ervas ainda mais resistentes e prejudicará outros cultivos importantes.

Ou, pode ser ambos.

O “Enlist”, em estágio final de aprovação, se tornou o mais recente foco de debates sobre os riscos e recompensas da tecnologia agrícola. Com prazo para comentários públicos sobre a proposta finalizando nesta semana, mais de cinco mil pessoas e grupos já opinaram. A Dow Agrosciences, uma unidade da Dow ChemicalCo, espera ter aprovação do produto este ano para que siga para os cultivos em 2013.

O milho em si não é o que está em questão, e sim o potente herbicida composto 2,4-D.

A engenharia do milho foi concebida de forma a aguentar doses desse novo herbicida desenvolvido pela Dow, que contém um composto comumente usado no tratamento de gramados com ervas de folhas amplas e para a limpeza de campos antes do plantio de trigo e cevada.

O Enlist é o primeiro de uma série de novos cultivos tolerantes a herbicidas que visam lidar com o surgimento de ervas que sufocam as plantações. Elas desenvolveram resistência ao popular Roundup, herbicida da rival Monsanto. A série faz parte de um novo arsenal agrícola, que segundo os defensores, são essenciais para o cultivo suficiente de alimentos para uma população crescente.

Mas, enquanto o 2,4-D tem um longo histórico de uso, a natureza volátil do químico preocupa, pois o vento, altas temperaturas e umidade podem levar à migração de herbicidas tradicionais, desencadeando o caos em cultivos, jardins e árvores muito longe da sua aplicação original, desprotegidos do agente invisível.

Ambientalistas estão pressionando o governo a parar antes de abrir as portas para o que dizem poder ser uma decisão destrutiva.

Os oponentes incluem alguns agricultores especializados que temem que o herbicida 2,4-D possa causar danos generalizados a cultivos que não passaram por um processo de engenharia para serem tolerantes a ele. O componente é tão potente que o seu uso é rigidamente restrito em algumas áreas e em determinadas épocas em alguns estados.

“Esta é uma questão elementar para a agricultura”, comentou John Bode, advogado de uma coalizão de agricultores e empresas alimentícias que buscam restrições ou a rejeição dos planos da Dow.

“Quantidades massivas do 2,4-D podem causar grande mudanças, ameaçando especialmente cultivos a milhas de distância”, disse Bode, que foi assistente da Secretaria de Agricultura na administração Reagan.

Os interesses financeiros também são altos. A Dow prevê um valor de bilhões de dólares para esta linha de produtos que até agora é o maior competidor do Roundup e das sementes modificadas “Roudup Ready” da Monsanto. A Dow espera expandir o Enlist para cultivos de soja e algodão.

Onde, no passado, o Roundup matou as ervas daninhas facilmente, especialistas dizem que agora, mesmo o uso pesado do herbicida com glyphosato não consegue mais matar as “super ervas”.

Novo herbicida dribla a dispersão

Alguns cientistas apoiam o Enlist. No sul do Illinois, um dos principais cinturões produtores de milho, infestações da erva invasora chamada ‘waterhemp’ dobraram a cada ano ao longo dos últimos três anos, segundo Bryan Young, cientista da Universidade de Southern Illinois.

Oficiais da Dow dizem que estão cientes do problema da volatilidade e propagação do 2,4-D e que o novo herbicida foi formulado para reduzir estes fatores dramaticamente. Eles alegam que se os agricultores utilizarem a nova versão do 2,4-D adequadamente, a dispersão será reduzida em cerca de 90%, e que testes mostram que o novo produto tem “volatilidade muito baixa”.

Até mesmo muitos oponentes do novo herbicida dizem que é melhor do que os rivais genéricos que usam o 2,4-D. Mas eles ponderam que a versão da Dow será tão cara que muitos agricultores provavelmente comprarão genéricos mais baratos para usar no milho tolerante ao 2,4-D.

A Dow reconhece isto, mas diz que trabalhará para atrair os agricultores para sua marca.

“Acho que nunca será garantido, mas estamos fazendo o possível para tentar incentivar e educar as pessoas”, comentou Tom Wiltrout, líder de estratégias globais para sementes da Dow.

David Simmons, um agricultor de Indiana que cultiva soja e milho, mas também dirige um vinhedo, disse que as vinhas jovens sofreram danos significativos coma dispersão do 2,4-D aplicado em seus vizinhos, forçando-o pedir ressarcimento das suas seguradoras.

Devido aos notórios efeitos da dispersão, oponentes têm demandado que alguma forma de fundo de indenização seja estabelecida para pagar as perdas das fazendas prejudicadas. A Dow não defende esta salvaguarda.

Grandes interesses

Oponentes inundaram o Departamento de Agricultura dos Estados Unidos (USDA) com petições e demandas pela rejeição do novo milho da Dow ou por um regulamentação rígida antes que o uso do 2,4-D seja ampliado para milhões de acres no coração agrícola norte-americano. Mais de 90 milhões de acres de milho serão plantados apenas em 2012.

Na semana passada, a coalizão ‘Salve Nossos Cultivos’, representando mais de dois mil produtores norte-americanos, entrou com petições legais no USDA e na Agência de Proteção Ambiental demandando que o governo avalie os planos da Dow mais de perto. O grupo diz que poderá entrar com um processo judicial para barrar o novo milho.

Steve Smith, diretor de agricultura da Red Gold, maior processadora de tomates enlatados do mundo, chamou a questão do 2,4-D de uma “bomba relógio”.

“Somos todos produtores, e pessoas que não têm problemas com novas tecnologias. Mas prevemos que este novo produto terá efeitos colaterais nos quais acreditamos que as pessoas não tenham pensado adequadamente”, comentou Smith.

Outros temem que o Enlist e o 2,4-D serão apenas o começo de uma nova onda de químicos agrícolas perigosos. A gigante BASF e a Monsanto pretendem lançar até o meio da década cultivos tolerantes a um mix dos químicos dicamba e glyphosato.

Este crescente uso de químicos apenas trará mais resistência das ervas daninhas nos próximos anos, alertam cientistas e ambientalistas.

“É uma queda de braço química”, disse Andrew Kimbrell, um advogado do Centro para Segurança Alimentar contra os novos sistemas de plantio. “É um cenário assustador. Não poderemos fazer nada com estas ervas além de usar machados”.

Ao invés do uso de mais químicos para o plantio de milho no mesmo campo ano após ano, os agricultores norte-americanos deveriam estar fazendo mais rotação de culturas, uma técnica que comprovadamente desafia a resistência das ervas daninhas, defendem muitos cientistas.

A Dow diz que apesar do Enlist ser a melhor opção atualmente, não será a única em longo prazo para a resistência das ervas.

“Não existe saída mágica”, comentou Joe Vertin, chefe global da Dow para o Enlist.

Traduzido por Fernanda B. Muller, Instituto CarbonoBrasil

Fonte: Carbono Brasil
Original: http://bit.ly/IPGNGy


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A corn scientist holds an ear of biotech corn inside a greenhouse at Monsanto’s research facilities in Chesterfield, Mo. On Friday, a federal judge threw out a case by a large number of farmers who were suing Monsanto to stop lawsuits against farmers who inadvertently ended up with Monsanto genes in their crops. (Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Federal Dist. Judge Naomi Buchwald ruled Friday to dismiss the case brought by organic farmers to stop patent infringement lawsuits brought by seed giant Monsanto. The suit, called OSGATA et al. vs. Monsanto, was brought by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn. (OSGATA), as well as 82 other plaintiffs representing as many as 300,000 farmers.

“We’re Americans. We believe in the system. But we’re disappointed in the judge,” said Jim Gerritsen, an organic seed farmer in Maine and OSGATA president.

The farmers had sought a declaratory judgment against Monsanto to stop the agribusiness giant from suing farmers who ended up with patented genes in their seed crops through cross-contamination via wind or other accidental methods. Monsanto has said for years that it would not sue farmers who inadvertently acquired their patented genes, yet there have been over a hundred such lawsuits, including several against farmers who proved they had no intention of using Monsanto genes, and an unknown number of settlements that have not been disclosed. The farmers contend that this amounts to harassment, and that many of them have stopped growing profitable crops such as corn because of fear of contamination by Monsanto crops.

The famers had hoped that one result of the law would be a reexamination of the patents held by Monsanto, which they claim are fraudulent. The judge’s ruling did not address those matters.

The plaintiff’s lead attorney, Dan Ravicher, executive director of the Public Patent Foundation at Cardozo Law School, said in a statement that he believes the judge made an error.

“Her failure to address the purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Act and her characterization of binding Supreme Court precedent that supports the farmers’ standing as ‘wholly inapposite’ constitute legal error. In sum, her opinion is flawed on both the facts and the law.”

Gerritsen says the farmers he represents will fight on.

“The situation that brought us to court is still there. Farmers need the protection of the court. We filed a completely legitimate lawsuit under the Declaratory Judgment Act. We do understand that we have the right to appeal.” He points out it’s a big group, and 83 different entities have to agree to go forward with the appeal. “This is already underway,” he says. “The discussions have already begun.”

Author: Dean Kuipers
Source: Los Angeles Times
Original: http://lat.ms/yrfkLi


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